Re: 6 mo in hospital
Oh my goodness, I am so sorry your baby is ill! That must be intensely frightening.
In order to maintain supply at the current level, your goal should be to pump about as often as your baby was nursing. Even more frequently would probably be ideal, since pumps aren't as good at emptying the breast as a baby is. But you do what you can do given the time constraints you have! If 8 pump sessions is what you can manage, that's still terrific. Even if you could only pump once a day, that would still be way better than nothing!
At 6 months, most breastfed babies are still taking just 2-4 oz at a feeding. A really big eater might take more like 3-5 oz. Breastfed babies make up for the small size of the average feeding by nursing frequently. Since most babies eat at least 8-10 times a day, and more during growth spurts, you want to aim to produce about 20-30 oz of milk per day. It's okay if you're not getting this much- hopefully when your baby is feeling better she'll nurse and boost you back up to where you need to be.
Tips for pumping:
- Use a hospital-grade pump with correctly sized shields- better pumps usually yield more milk
- Try power pumping: pump both sides for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10, rest for 10, and finally pump one last time for 10 minutes for a total of 30 minutes of pumping in a 1-hour period. Power pumping is supposed to mimic the way an infant feeds and boosts supply during a growth spurt.
- Minimize your dishwashing workload by keeping a large basin of soapy water by the sink, and throwing bottles and pump parts in as they get used. I found it easier to do one or two big wash-ups per day than a zillion small ones.
- Get a second set of pump parts.
- According to my LC, you only need to wash your pump every other time you use it- though perhaps with your baby's illness you need to be more cautious? Anyway, it's usually safe to leave the pump screwed onto the bottle and pop the whole assembly into the fridge after using it. When it's time to pump again, you simply pump new milk on top of old or, if you want to be more cautious, screw a fresh bottle onto the pump.
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"